If you write middle grade and you haven't seen this, make sure you check it out: Everything you ever wanted to know about middle grade, the finale over at Dystel and Goderich. In the wrap up to this informative series, editor Molly O'Neil and agent Michael Bourret talk about how to make your middle grade novel stand out. For example:
Molly O'Neill: "A lot of time, it’s the details that make a story memorable. In fact, it’s often those same specific details that we remember, months or years after reading a book, rather than the plot itself."
Michael Bourret: "It’s important to break out of your comfort zones and explore the world. Writers need inspiration, and our increasingly digital world provides opportunities to learn and grow, but it can also become, as Molly so well said, and echo chamber that just reinforces what a writer already “knows.”
Also, do you know about this contest for writers of middle grade?
Children's Writer is having a Middle-Grade Mystery Writing Contest.
Write a fictional mystery that will engage readers 9 to 12, in no more than 900 words. There is a fee of $15 if you're not a subscriber (but then you get to be one for 11 months -- that's good value) and the deadline is April 30, 2012.